The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers. And one group of consumers who can face specific kinds of challenges? Our military community. For many young servicemembers, time in the service is their first full-time job. Military families may move around regularly as they change duty stations.
Scammers use a number of clever schemes to trick people into sending them money: they might promise a job, a loan, a scholarship, or a prize. They might even promise to recover money lost to a previous scam.
The letter you opened sounds like you’ve lucked out in a big way. It’s an offer for free plane tickets to practically anyplace you want to go. The company — whose name appears to be that of a well-known airline — urges you to act quickly, or you might miss this “last chance.” They even sent a “voucher” for the tickets.
Seems like all you have to do is call the toll-free number on the letter and you’ll soon be flying off to your desired destination. The offer has a deadline, though, so you’d better call now, right?
The devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has left many people asking how they can help. If you’re looking for a way to give, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, urges you to do some research to ensure that your donation will go to a reputable organization that will use the money as promised — and as you intend.
Attorney, FTC's Division of Consumer & Business Educaiton
Do your library patrons have a variety of backgrounds, cultures, literacy levels, and learning styles? Are they looking for information on managing money, credit & debt, recovering from identity theft, or avoiding fraud? You probably would love to get your hands on helpful information that’s clear, direct, and easy-to-use, right? Then tune in November 13 at 2 pm EST! The Public Library Association and the FTC are teaming up to present a free webinar about reaching out to patrons who have consumer questions and who need just basic information, plain and simple. Hear how the FTC partnered with the Center for Applied Linguistics to create Consumer.gov and its easy-to-use consumer resources. The site has tip sheets, short videos, and audio read-alongs to share what someone needs to know and do on important consumer issues.
Do you send money to friends or family overseas? Or to a business? If so, as of right now, you have the power: to shop around, to make informed decisions, to cancel (OK, that power only lasts for 30 minutes, but it’s something), and to know where to complain.
Maybe you’re picking up paper plates for a party, or ready to bag some leaves in your yard. If a package says a product is biodegradable, compostable or recyclable you might opt to make the “greener” choice, right? That’s why it’s important those environmental labels tell the real story.
Phantom debts – sounds a little like a ghostly Halloween prank. Unfortunately, it’s no joke. Some fake debt collectors may try deception and threats to pressure you to pay debts that you don’t owe. The FTC recently obtained a temporary restraining order in a case against debt collectors, Pinnacle Payment Services, Lisa Jeter, her partners and related companies about just these kinds of practices. The court order shuts down the operation, pending trial.
Imagine getting a phone message like this:
This is the Civil Investigations Unit. We are contacting you in regards to a complaint being filed against you, pursuant to claim and affidavit number D00D-2932, where you have been named a respondent in a court action and must appear… Please forward this information to your attorney in that the order to show cause contains a restraining order. You or your attorney will have 24 to 48 hours to oppose this matter… Call 757-555-1234.
Who wouldn’t be spooked? The FTC has gotten almost 3,000 complaints about messages like this.